Welcome to my blog for February. Of course our main focus continues to be the covid-19 response and I’m pleased to say we are pushing ahead with the vaccination programme at pace. Now with four vaccination centres in the borough in Rochdale town centre, Heywood, Middleton and Littleborough we are on track to meet our deadline of all four priority groups being complete by the mid part of this month. But to ensure no one is missed out, we are at a point where we are asking people over 70 only, who are registered with GPs in the borough to contact us if they have not received a vaccination. Only if you are over 70 and not yet been vaccinated call: 0300 303 0355 (open Monday – Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday – Sunday 10am – 4pm) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive an appointment to get protected. Other ages will be contacted as soon as it is their turn.
Unfortunately our covid-19 rate is still high but thankfully coming down, albeit slowly. The new variants are now making the national news and it’s a reminder that our fight against this virus if far from over, so we must remain steadfast in our message of hands, face, space for some time to come.
We are lucky that the borough is now very well served with covid-19 testing options allowing people to readily confirm whether they have the virus, if they are symptomatic or non symptomatic. As well as the original test sites that allow a result in a couple of days, we now have the FAST testing sites , the new lateral flow test sites which are able to give a test result in 30 minutes. All the testing sites options and information is available on the council website: http://www.rochdale.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus/Pages/test-and-trace.aspx
Of course we need to remain mindful of the need to protect other areas of our health at this difficult time. February has a lot of important awareness days taking place to raise awareness and knowledge. Starting off the month is Children’s Mental Health Week between 1st – 7th February, this aims to raise awareness on how to support children during this difficult time, you can visit the Children’s Mental Health week website for more information: https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/ The theme for this week is Express Yourself and there are lots of free resources that can be adapted for use in school or for home-schooling.
Thursday 4th February is Time To Talk and raises an important issue that a lot of people are experiencing in terms of loneliness and feeling isolated during the lockdown. Checking in on your family, friends and colleagues during the coronavirus outbreak is more important than ever. If you are struggling, help and support is available and you can find out more information on the Time to Talk website: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/mental-health-and-stigma/help-and-support
Thursday 4th February is also World Cancer Day, during the Covid 19 pandemic we have unfortunately seen cancer referrals down by 50%. There are sometimes no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, and sometimes these small cancers are found on scans when people are being treated for different things.
Many people do develop symptoms and these include:
- a persistent cough
- coughing up blood
- persistent breathlessness
- unexplained tiredness and weight loss
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
If you have any of these symptoms I would ask that you please contact your GP as soon as possible. GP surgeries are still open and measures are in place to see people safely. You can find out more information about Lung Cancer on the NHS website: :https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lung-cancer/
Saturday 6th February is international day of zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Over 20,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year & 66,000 are living with the consequences. If you have had FGM or you’re worried that you or someone you know is at risk, you are not alone and help is available, please talk to someone you trust, you can find out more information and get help and support on the GM Victims website www.gmvictims.org.uk/fgm
You can keep up to date by following us on social media, Facebook: NHSHMRCCG and Twitter @NHSHMR
Thank you for reading,
Please stay safe.
Dr Chris Duffy